Review: Arvor 755 Weekender

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Arvor’s aptly named Weekender is meant for lazy days. John Ford and his wife Heather spent a couple of days on Sydney Harbour, putting the 755 to the test.

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Arvor 755 Weekender Boat Review

Classical music floated across the water, just loud enough to be pleasant and mark the end of an enjoyable day cruising Sydney Harbour. With the sun sinking lower over Bantry Bay, an Australian ensign waved languidly at the stern of the music lover’s 50-foot ketch. Like us, the sleek yacht had settled in for the night and was our only companion on the secluded stretch of upper Middle Harbour. There can’t be many places in the world where such an ideal anchorage is so short a run from the noise and mayhem of a major city.

Sydney Harbour is one of the most spectacular waterways on the planet. With so many sights and historic landmarks, touring the waters by boat should be on everyone’s bucket list.

When Peter Collins from Arvor Australia suggested an extended review of the aptly named Arvor 755 Weekender, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to see the boat in its intended role as an overnighter. A mid-week weekend, if you like. It also gave us the time to research the many sights and destinations on hand for visitors around Sydney Harbour.

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For our review, we decided to explore the Sydney Blue Flag Destinations over our two days on board. These destinations are available free to casual boaters and have been established by NSW Roads and Maritime to enhance the boating experience. They are scattered at various marinas between Cabarita in the west to Roseville on the upper reaches of Middle Harbour, and are open to anyone as a "first in best dressed" proposition. (Keep an eye out for our review of a select few Blue Flag destinations in a coming issue).

Arvors have long been the favourite choice of practical boaties for their diesel economy, spacious interiors and excellent handling, but their latest range of outboard models has breathed new life into the fleet. With the might of Brunswick Marine behind them, the boats have taken on a sporty look and feel, and a feisty performance that was lacking in original generations. This is especially apparent in the Weekender where the sweptback windscreen and cascading sheerline reflect a modern, cohesive design to maximise accommodation in the forward cabin.

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A sharp entry is accompanied by significant chines as well as planing strakes for better lift and stability, running back to a moderate 17 degree deadrise. The boat is rated at CE 3 for coastal waters in conditions up to 27 knots and two-metre seas, so it makes a reliable harbour cruiser with ventures to places like Pittwater in the right circumstances.

When you consider the boat’s 7-metre waterline length, it’s remarkable what Arvor designers have achieved. They have successfully integrated a roomy cockpit, a cabin with nearly two-meter headroom and accommodation for a couple in a comfy bow cabin. Families are also catered for with a quarter berth below the dining area that also converts to another bed.

With a plan to camp overnight at Bantry Bay, the first step was to test the forward cabin for size. A step down from the wheelhouse allows good head height at the foot of the bed, which is angled across to increase its footprint. Measuring 2.08 by 1.54 metres, it's a generous size, and the mattress was soft enough to ensure a good night’s sleep.

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A mirror on the forward bulkhead creates an impression of more space while side ports and an overhead hatch flood the area with light, while blockouts limit the early morning sun. At the foot of the bed is a port-side head with ceramic bowl pump out toilet, holding tank and an opening-port for ventilation. There’s no shower, but you’d have no trouble washing off after a swim in the open air under the fresh water unit at the transom. And although the weather wasn’t conducive to getting in the water, I did like the transom swim platforms and ladder, and the way the shallow draft allowed us to ease in close to the beach to jump ashore for a walk around.

Just aft of the head is a sneaky quarter berth moulded into the void under the saloon. At 1.88 by 0.9 metres it's a tight squeeze for larger folk, but it would be ideal for a kid and made a perfect place to store our soft luggage.

The enclosed saloon ensures the Arvor is a year-round cruising proposition. What's the point of investing in a boat only for summer? Winter brings some sunny, windless days perfect for resting with a good book on the sunpad to the beat of a gentle swell.

The aft section of the salon has a café style dinette with a drop-down table for conversion to another single berth. It’s more of a poor-weather option for dining because we found the cockpit setup more conducive to long dinners, especially with our Vivaldi accompaniment.

A compact galley opposite the dinette has a single burner gas cooktop and a stainless steel sink set into a dark laminate benchtop. Below there's a large utensils drawer and a 40 litre Vitrifrigo fridge that was big enough for food and drinks to last a couple of days.

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Being on the water is all about getting into the open air, and the 755 has two excellent outdoor precincts to enjoy. As well as the dining table, the cockpit has side and rear lounges, a full sunpad or an open area for fishing or clinking glasses with a crowd (up to the boat’s nine-person capacity).

One neat feature is the transom lounge that slides forward so the engine can be lifted clear of the water, or slid back to enlarge the cockpit. In the forward position, it also makes a handy fishing platform so you can keep any messy bits from getting on the upmarket upholstery.

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A safe walk along the sides leads to the second outdoor area. Well-placed handholds and a rail for protection assist passage to a full sunpad in the bow and a split in the rail for access over the bowsprit to a dock.

Because the driving position is relatively high and windows wrap around all sides, the view from the helm chair is almost 360 degrees. This is important, as it can be difficult threading your way through harbour traffic, even mid-week. The big sweep of the raked windscreen has washers and wipers to maintain vision, but it was only occasionally that spray flew over us.

The 225 Mercury four-stroke V6 was relatively new to the lineup when we tested the boat, and it proved to be an enthusiastic performer. Because Arvor is part of the vast Brunswick Corporation, Mercury engines are standard with options on the 755 between 200 and 300 horse power.

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Digital Mercury instruments and a 9 inch Simrad screen displayed navigation and engine monitoring, and they sit in an easily-read, near-vertical dash in direct line of sight of the driving position. The dash has a dark non-reflective background, but there were times when the bright moulding of the cabin bulkhead caused unwelcome glare in the midday sun.

Our tour of the waterway gave us a wide range of conditions, from smooth glassy runs on the upper Middle Harbour to steep chop from the dozens of large vessels around The Bridge and bigger swells across the heads.

On top of providing excellent weather protection, the enclosed cabin gives the vessel a big boat feel that helps inspire confidence. Acceleration is punchy with a flat transition to plane and handling is predictable – turning without excessive lean even into full power turns. The ride is smooth apart from some occasional harshness when the beefy bow meets sharp chop head-on at speed.

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Happiest cruising seems to be around 19 to 24 knots, where the hull is properly on the plane, riding efficiently on the chines and strakes. Revs are between 4,000 and 4,500 at these speeds, and the range extends to a respectable 162 nautical miles with 10 per cent in reserve from the 300-litre tank. In smoother waters, we saw 33 knots on the GPS so you can cover plenty of ground quickly if needed.

Making our way safely into some of the Blue Flag Destination Marinas highlighted the boat’s impressive slow speed manoeuvrability, as several were in confined locations surrounded by moored boats and narrow passageways. The bow thruster helped enormously, and I managed to avoid the various expensive fibreglass hulls hindering our progress.

Our time on the Weekender was enjoyable, and it gave me a proper appreciation of the boat's intention. It's a perfect compact cruiser with the comfort and room required for days relaxing on the water. While not really a trailer proposition, it would be ideal for anyone with waterfront access and fits right in with the many stackable storage options springing up around the major cities.

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Pricing starts at $120,500 (incl. GST) for a basic package with a 200 horse power engine. Our review boat came with the Smart and Electronics packages, which delivered options like the galley, forward sun pad, roof hatch, windlass, trim tabs and Simrad gear for a total of $151,990.

SPECIFICATIONS

Arvor 755 Weekender

PRICED FROM $123,000

OPTIONS FITTED Electronics, swim platform, retractable awning, bow thruster, engine upgrade, Smart Pack and more.

PRICE AS TESTED $151,990

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP
TYPE Monohull cabin cruiser
LENGTH 7.76m (loa)
BEAM 2.85m
WEIGHT 2,138kg

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 3 (night), 9 (day)
FUEL 300L
WATER 80L
DEADRISE 17 degrees

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Mercury 225 four-stroke
TYPE V6 DOHC, 24V fuel-injected four-stroke
RATED HP 225hp
DISPLACEMENT 3.4L
WEIGHT 216kg (with 20" leg)
GEAR RATIO 1.85:1

MANUFACTURED BY
Brunswick Corporation, Europe

SUPPLIED BY
Collins Marine, 26/17-21 Bowden St.
Alexandria NSW 2015
P (02) 9319 5222
W www.arvor.com.au

Sea Trials

300L fuel tank (calculations using 270L, 10% reserve)

Rpm Speed (kts) Fuel Burn (L/h) Range (NM)
500 3 4 189
1000 4 10  108 
1500 5.5 13.5  108 
2000 7 17.5  108 
2500 8 26.6  81 
3000 9 30  81 
3500 (planing) 12 40  81 
4000 19 38  135 
4500 24 40  162 
5000 28 56  135 
5500 31 76  108 
5970 (WOT) 33 82.5  108

*Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

This story was originally published in issue #510 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest boat news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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